NEED FOR SPEED

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This post was sponsored by Zoom Motorsports, however all opinions are my own. Thank you for helping me to support brands, retailers, and events I love!

Have you recovered from spring break and looking for new things to do in the coming weekends? I know we are. My family and I are super excited for the events happening this spring, including the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. My husband and I have been intentional about giving the kids more experiences locally and nationally, instead of gifting material things. They have loved the trips we have taken so far, but equally love the local events they get to experience as well.

Both my boys love race cars and competition, so I can’t wait to expose them to the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. It’s scheduled for this upcoming weekend, April 5-7, 2019. There are TONS of events happening, both for the kids and the adults.

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For the kids

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COCA-COLA FAMILY EXPO
Music, cornhole, giant bowling, ladder ball, kids inflatables, music and more! This will be located behind the Kamtek Public Grandstands. Coca-Cola Family Expo will be located in the Surgere Fan Zone behind the Kamtek Public Grandstands.

GEAR UP YOUR CAREER
Gear Up Your Career features suppliers and community colleges in the state of Alabama that are looking to connect with students interested in workforce development. There will be tons of interactive STEM opportunities for kids throughout the area.

BUD’S BEST COOKIES FERRIS WHEEL
Ride the Bud’s Best Ferris Wheel to get a bird’s-eye view of the facility! $5 per ride – proceeds benefit United Ability.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES FAN VILLAGE AUTOGRAPH SESSION
Don’t miss your chance to get autographs from drivers of the NTT IndyCar Series!Friday, April 5 | 1pm- 2pm

KAMTEK GARAGE

The Kamtek Garage is the working area for the race teams and provides an excellent opportunity to get up close to the race cars and drivers … so bring your camera and autograph pen! Ages 15 and under receive complimentary Garage passes, courtesy of Alabama Power.

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For the adults

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COCINA AT THE TRACK

Join the party at the Park at one of our premier locations, Cocina at the Track. Located trackside in the heart of the Surgere Fan Zone, guests are guaranteed to have one of the best seats in the house. Cocina at the Track passes include a breakfast & lunch buffet, afternoon hors d’oeuvres, and a complimentary bar, courtesty of local favorite, Cocina Superior. Cocina at the Track passes also include Grounds Admission + Kamtek Garage Pass.

All children over the age of 3 must purchase a Cocina at the Track pass. Call 1.877.332.7804 or email tickets@zoommoto.com to purchase Cocina at the Track Kids tickets.

For information regarding group or corporate ticket packages, contact Sandra Megerdigian at sandra@zoommoto.com | 205-977-9350.

 

PADDOCK CLUB

Experience the ultimate, trackside hospitality located on the 2nd floor of Race Control overlooking the start/finish line. Paddock Club passes include premium:

  • Access to 2nd and 3rd floor viewing patios
  • Panoramic views of the on-track action
  • VIP parking
  • Upscale breakfast, lunch, afternoon hors d’oeuvres, and bar service
  • Passes also include Grounds Admission + Kamtek Garage Pass

All children over the age of 3 must purchase a Paddock Club pass. Call 1.877.332.7804 or email tickets@zoommoto.com to purchase Paddock Club kids tickets.

 

THE INDY 5K 

This unique 5K will be Friday, April 5th at the world-class Barber Motorsports Park during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama weekend. The course is 5K certified and will be chip-timed. It is the same route as the one that will challenge the world’s fastest drivers on Sunday, April 7th, during the deep south’s only IndyCar event. Numerous IndyCar drivers have already committed to run in this 5K. Participants will receive a unique finisher’s medal and can enjoy a post-race social hour. Register here.

WINE FESTIVAL

Suppliers from Alabama Crown will be sampling and selling wine and craft beer in the  HAGERTY CAR CORRAL on Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and enjoy a variety of 100+ wine & craft beers. While enjoying your favorite beverage check out the artists that will be showcasing and selling handmade art, ceramics, paintings, jewelry and more at the Grand Art Festival. This new, art-driven feature at the race will showcase exhibition booths for up to 30 talented artists and makers from the region.

The entire event schedule is listed on the event website if you’re a planner like me and looking to fill gaps in your schedule this weekend or coordinate entire days at the race track.

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That’s all great, but how much is it gonna cost me??

Y’all, this event is FREE FOR KIDS!! Otherwise, for adults, it is relatively inexpensive to attend. You can plan a nice playdate for both the kids and adults and have plenty for all to do. Prices for three-day or single day admission below:

Three-Day General Admission
$69.00
The Best Value!
Three-day specific tickets.
Friday General Admission
$15.00
Saturday General Admission
$35.00
Sunday General Admission
$45.00
FINAL ART CARD

That sounds awesome and within my budget, but you got freebies??

YES! You’re in luck! I’m giving away a four-pack of three-day passes to one lucky winner!! That means two adults, and two adult friends/family members, and an unlimited number of kids, can attend the event. Approximately a $500 value pack of fun!

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What do you need to do to enter?? Tag the friends/family you wish to take with you on my Facebook page. That’s it! The Honda Indy Grand Prix Event team will pick a winner and announce this coming Thursday so you can make plans accordingly.

I’ll be there with the fam at some point this weekend, so even if you don’t win a pair of tickets, I hope you’ll consider attending anyway to join in on the fun. See you at the race track!
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Photo credit for all imagery in this post: Jennifer Hagler Photography
yours truly, dr. b

DOLLA DOLLA BILL Y’ALL

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

A couple weeks ago, I surveyed my Instagram friends, and a large majority were interested in a no-spend February, wherein we all commit to not spending any money on clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. No money spent on unnecessary wants; only on needs like food, utilities, gas, rent, etc. The idea is to be able to put any money you might have spent unnecessarily on clothes, etc, towards retirement, debt, and such. While initially I was quite gung-ho about the idea of not spending any money at all next month, questions starting pouring in about exceptions: What about Valentine’s Day? Birthdays? Can we use gift cards?? So I went back to my public health roots and thought about about the theories I learned about human behavior and what we think about when we consider new interventions: primarily, I thought about sustainability. WHAT IS THE GOAL HERE?

My person goal is to spend more consciously and stop spending money on food that will get thrown away because I didn’t meal plan; clothes and shoes I bought on a whim that I never wore; or makeup products I bought and didn’t like, and ended up cluttering my makeup bag until they expired; because, yes, they expire!! More to come on that.

Years ago, I read a post by Jeanette Johnson of J’s Everyday Fashion. It was the first time I’d read about setting a “clothing budget”. As you know, I was a grad student, then a post doc, and didn’t make a lot of money during either of those training periods. So budgeting was something I did out of necessity. When I became an assistant professor, I was making more money, but school loans have also kept me from over-spending. Still, one of the things I love to do is shop, and since embarking on my purging journey the past two years, I realized that some of that money might have been better spent. J’s clothing budget allows you to set aside 2-8% of your monthly salary on clothing. In general, I have followed that rule, but I could also benefit from spending less, accumulating less clutter, and buying more thoughtfully moving forward.

Okay, so if you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering: SOOOOO, are we shopping or not shopping??

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In public health, when thinking about health interventions, we often think about ensuring that outcomes will be sustainable. So I asked myself, “Is it sustainable to not shop at all for the rest of my life??” Of course not. Is the point to do this for a month and what? Save $100? No. The goal, a sustainable one, is to learn how to budget and spend mindfully. So, I’m proposing a variation of J’s clothing budget, to 1) learn how to budget; 2) ensure more mindful spending; 3) redirect more money towards other long-term goals, debt, etc.:

$60 a month for the rest of the year. YIKES!

 

$60 a month. How did I arrive at that number? Well, when I polled my Instagram friends, the most popular response was that many were working with about a $3000 budget (the sliding scale and other questions pictured below). If we take the lower range of J’s shopping budget percentage, then we’re looking at 2% of $3000, which equals $60. $60 a month!!

Have you recovered from the shock yet?? I’ll tell ya, once you write down every single thing you spend money on, you will think $60 is too much to spend. $60 dollars is enough to visit the Dollar Spot a couple times a month, buy a Who What Wear top from Target, and pick up a pair of shoes on clearance from TJMaxx. Not to mention a pair of earrings from Forever 21. Hello, $5 J Lo hoops!

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What are the rules??

  1. $60 to spend after groceries, bills, mortgage/rent, etc. $60 for clothes, shoes, accessories, the Dollar Spot, etc.
  2. Can you use gift cards to increase my clothing budget?? Absolutely!
  3. What if I make extra money? Can that be used to to increase my clothing budget? YES! The goal is simply to not take more from your take home income. If you’re comfortable meeting goals without allocating that extra income towards those goals, then spend away.
  4. What about credit card points. Again, YES. If many cases, you can’t turn these into cash, so might as well get yourself something nice if you have enough of them sitting around.

Have I piqued your interest?? If so, know that I will be keeping you updated with the purchases that I make myself these coming months, along with a summary of what I spent and on what. I do plan to be savvy and do extra things to try to pad my clothing budget. What kind of things you ask?? When I polled people on Instagram, the tips and tricks for making extra money when running low at the end of the month, were numerous.

  • Sell clothes on Poshmark
  • Pick up an extra day at work
  • Donate plasma
  • Sell things on eBay
  • Make extra money pet sitting
  • Consign clothes, shoes, accessories, etc
  • Teach (yoga, crafts etc)
  • Freelance (eg on Upwork)
  • Sell, sell, sell anything and everything that is extra in your home
  • Participate in research studies
  • Work overtime
  • Use credit card points
  • Offer to babysit for friends and neighbors
  • Photography
  • Sell/pawn used items
  • Uber, Instacart, and/or Shipt
  • Market research participation
  • Review textbooks
  • Sell kids clothes online (like eBay or ThredUp)
  • Tutoring
  • Sports leagues (coach a team and charge a fee for your time)
  • Sell things on Facebook
  • Bring on new clients (for those with a business)

Now, how do you start? Last month, I wrote down everything I had spent the past three months, and I categorized my spending into categories. Your categories will vary from mine depending on your household, personal, and professional needs. I, for example, no longer have to budget for daycare, but I do have to budget for after school care. So write it all down. Then, write down what you bring home each month. Deduct every single expense (down to the penny) that you will anticipate spending that month. Then decide how much to put away in your 1) emergency fund, 2) retirement account, etc. After that, take your $60 for clothing. If you do not have $60 left over to dedicate to clothing/etc, then use some of the ways above to try to make extra money, if shopping is how you want to spend that extra money.

I checked the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and in 2017, women made the following median salaries per month:

  • 16 to 19 years: $404 weekly/$21,008 annually
  • 20 to 24 years: $508 weekly/$26,416 annually
  • 25 to 34 years: $727 weekly/$37,804 annually
  • 35 to 44 years: $877 weekly/$45,604 annually
  • 45 to 54 years: $851 weekly/$44,252 annually
  • 55 to 64 years: $869 weekly/$45,188 annually
  • 65 years and older: $800 weekly/$41,600 annually

According to statistics provided by Instagram, people I interact with on instagram (followers and people I follow) are on average 25-34 years of age, with a smaller proportion in the 35-44 years of age. Based on the data above, if you divide $37,804 by 12 months, you arrive at $3150 per month, of which 2% equals $63. As it turns out, the data I collected on Instagram was not too far off from the median salary reported in the US.

Some tips I plan to keep in mind as I strive to keep to my $60 budget: 1) keep receipts! I might buy something that fits within my $60 monthly budget, but that I change my mind about later, so I’ll roll that money over to the following month; 2) shop thrift and consignment stores; 3) accept gifts!!; 4) have clothing swaps with friends; 5) sell, sell, sell!!

So what do you think? Are you in, or are you out?? If you’re in, I look forward to going on this money saving journey with you! Let me know in the comments section if you would like a post on creating a budget, although based on my data, most of you already know how to budget, so perhaps that isn’t as great a need as finding fellowship in spending less. Onward, and save!

yours truly, dr. b (1)

 

 

 

Getting a Great Price on Your Car

Many thanks to Cars.com for sponsoring this post so that I can share my car buying experience with you!

Well, hello, friends!  It’s been a hot minute, but I tell you, life has simply been cray. I have been swamped at work, the kids have had a million and one activities, birthday parties, etc…you get the picture.  So I’ve abandoned my poor little blog. 😦

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I got a new car this summer.  Hubby pulled the trigger on a newbie and I have been simply in love with it since day one. I’d owned my last car for nearly 13 years, so we were due for a new one.

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I have to tell you that getting this car was about a year in the making. We kept visiting the dealership and walking away because the price just wasn’t right. I have always said that one should buy a car – if able – when you don’t absolutely NEED a car.  This requires some planning obviously, and requires that you in fact haven’t gotten in an accident or your car died suddenly, so that you can make decisions with time.  If you are in any of those situations and cannot wait, then your strategy may need to differ.  If, however, you do have time, do not immediately need a car, but are thinking of a new car in the near future, keep these things in mind:

  1. Car dealerships have sales quotas they have to meet. Usually, they are scrambling to sell the number of cars they proposed to sell – or are required to sell – by the end of the month.  Given this, the end of the month is often the best time to get a great deal on your car because sales reps are eager to get inventory out the door.
  2. The end of the year is ALSO a great time to buy a car.  Let’s say for example, you were considering a car this year, 2017.  You may be hard pressed to find a brand new 2016 car on the lot, but if you do find one, snatch it up!  It will be a lot cheaper than any 2017 or 2018 model on the lot.  If there aren’t any 2016 cars available, then consider a 2017.  Sometimes body styles change, but often the changes are not dramatic enough that you wouldn’t be happy with a 2017 model vs a 2018 model.  The difference in cost might just convince you that a 2017 is worth it even if you’re about to transition to the new year (in this case the start of 2018).
  3. Consider a pre-owned car! Mercedes, BMW, and many other dealerships have lease programs that allow individuals to lease for 1-3 years at a time.  There is often a limit on the number of miles that these cars have, so they can be a great option for someone looking for a new-ish car that comes with an extended warranty and is not AS expensive as a brand new car.
  4. Go to the dealership with a final monthly payment amount in mind. When we were considering buying a car this year, I went and spoke to the sales rep and said, “We need a car that will be no more than $XXX.XX per month for X amount of years,” assuming you are buying the car and taking out a loan. We didn’t buy a car until the sales rep was able to find us a car that not only met our expectations for the model of the car we were looking for, but also the price we had in mind.

Ultimately, the most important tip of finding a car is performing the right research. You can’t make the right purchase without knowing the facts about the make, model and price of your car. Over the years, I have found that Cars.com is a great resource to learning about your potential purchase. Their website has a huge selection of information that will provide you with everything you need to make an informed purchase. What most people don’t know about them is their Videos & Reviews feature. They provide extensive reviews and essential information about a wide variety of different cars. And most importantly, they give it to you straight. I’ve found they don’t sugar coat or hide the bad reviews of cars. If something is poorly rated, hasn’t performed well or not a good purchase, they aren’t afraid to tell you. Because of this, I recommend you begin your car research here. Doing your research is a very important part of car shopping. Especially if you are a first-time buyer or have a lot of different cars you’re interested in, your research will help you the best car at the best price.

Going along with research, another important tip is to not stick with one dealer. Though dealers can stock huge selections at different prices, it doesn’t mean their prices are industry competitive. Because of this, I recommend visiting other dealers and researching similar cars you are interested in to get a baseline price for the vehicle. Visiting other dealers will give you an understanding of what you should be paying, and therefore get you the best price. Looking at various dealers is increasingly important if you are shopping for a used car. An important factor of used cars is their number of miles. This number has a huge impact on the wear and tear of the car, along with the price. Guessing the price of a car based on the miles it has will not give you accurate information, and will most likely result in overspending on your part. So, visiting other dealers and looking at competing prices is especially important for used cars. Doing this will result in your car being the right price, and it will show the dealer or seller you know what you are talking about.

Buying a car can be scary and stressful, but less so if you take the time to do your research and have a plan in mind.  These simple tips will help you save big and find the right car for you. It is important to do your research, utilize different resources, know your stuff and take your time when car shopping. Following these tips will do nothing but help your with your purchase. Doing something as little as looking up similar car prices can save you thousands of dollars. Purchasing a car doesn’t have to complicated and stressful. The more you know about the process, the better off you will be!

What are some of your tips for getting a great price on a new car??

Until next time!  Stay ‘Chic’!